Who knows the nitty-gritty details of your business better than anyone? If you are not thinking your employees, your business may be in trouble. Our employees and co-workers are in the trenches day in and day out. They deal with customers and the product in more intimate ways, meaning it’s likely that they have a better understanding of what’s really happening in the workplace. When it comes to the equipment they use and the way the business really functions it is your employees and not you or your managers who will likely have insights into what is really happening in the business. The problem is, many entrepreneurs and managers don’t recognize the expertise of their staff, and as a result they miss out in two ways:
- B4Ters fail to get employees’ (or co-workers) ideas on ways to improve. This includes improvement in customer service, product design, machinery usage–all areas of the business.
- B4Ters lose opportunities to make employees feel involved in the business and build morale.The wisest business owner who ever lived tells us, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success” (Proverbs 15:22).
Encourage your managers to value the employees, even treating them as counselors. Transform your workers from a group of employees you’ve been trying to get more work out of, into a team of consultants who can help run your business better. So what’s the key phrase? The next time an employee comes to you with a question about how something should be done, simply ask, “What’s your recommendation?” Solomon also teaches, “Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.” (Proverbs 12:15)
Be humble. Listen first. Make it a habit to listen to the employees ideas first, before you have them listen to yours. No employee should be overlooked. You’ll be surprised at the good input you’ll receive and you’ll learn your employees can help solve all kinds of problems. In turn, the employees will take greater ownership in the business and have more pride in their work knowing they’re an important part of the business.
Managers still need to make decisions, but asking your people for their input can be a meaningful first step for improving the culture of your business and your bottom line. As business owners and managers we should see ourselves as people developers, and not as bosses.
So… What’s your recommendation?
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for other 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.